Prep Basketball

West Branch's quick start goes for naught in girls' state basketball quarterfinals

Down 11 points early, Osage pounds the boards and advances, 50-43

DES MOINES — It all started so well, so promising for the West Branch Bears.

But fifth-ranked Osage gathered itself, hit the boards and rallied for a 50-43 Class 2A quarterfinal victory at the girls’ state basketball tournament Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We were discombobulated at the start,” Osage’s Sidney Brandau said. “That’s the best defense we’ve seen.

“We just had to cool off and get in rhythm.”

Osage (23-2) scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter. The Green Devils will face No. 1 Cascade (26-0) in a semifinal at 10 a.m. Friday. The Cougars beat Denver, 41-28, Tuesday.

West Branch retired at 21-4.

“Obviously we’re disappointed,” West Branch Coach Jarod Tylee said. “We had aspirations of playing more than one game.”

Brandau posted 16 points, and her 12 rebounds helped the Green Devils to a 43-30 advantage on the glass.

“They had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, and that kept us from building a lead when we had the chance,” Tylee said.

No. 6 West Branch was fast out of the gate — really fast.

Rylan Druecker hit a basket, then added a 3-pointer. After a steal and score by Sasha Koenig and a 3-pointer by Taylor Thein, The Bears were up 10-0.

“Our press was effective, and we were hitting shots,” Druecker said.

Druecker’s second trey made it 13-2, but Osage started chipping away.

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The Green Devils were within 24-21 by halftime, then scored the first six points of the second half to take their first lead. Osage built a 35-29 advantage late in the third quarter, but West Branch scored the final eight points of the quarter to take a 37-35 edge.

But Osage surged again, and this time, the Bears couldn’t answer.

“They ran an extended zone, so our 3-pointers were deeper than we wanted,” West Branch junior Sasha Koenig said. “Ending a season like this hurts so much; we wanted more. But it’s going to push us for next year.”

Druecker paced the Bears with 14 points.

OSAGE 50, WEST BRANCH 43

2A State Quarterfinal, at Des Moines

WEST BRANCH (43): Sasha Koenig 2-18 0-0 4, Rylan Druecker 5-12 0-0 14, Kaiya Luneckas 3-10 0-0 6, Taylor Thein 1-6 0-0 3, Taya Young 3-7 0-0 7, Mackenzie Heise 4-6 1-2 9, Lexie Peak 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Boelk 0-0 0-0 0, Delaynie Luneckas 0-2 0-0 0, Abbie Waterman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-61 1-2 43.

OSAGE (50): Mia Knudsen 2-7 0-0 5, Melanie Bye 3-7 0-1 9, Dani Johnson 4-12 5-6 13, Ellie Bobinet 2-7 0-0 5, Sidney Brandau 6-13 3-3 16, Libby Schwamman 1-1 0-0 2, Megan Henson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-48 8-10 50.

Halftime: West Branch 24, Osage 21. 3-point goals: West Branch 6-23 (Koenig 0-6, Druecker 4-10, Thein 1-5, Young 1-1, Heise 0-1), Osage 6-21 (Knudsen 1-4, Bye 3-7, Johnson 0-3, Bobinet 1-4, Brandau 1-2, Henson 0-1). Team fouls: West Branch 14, Osage 9. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: West Branch 30 (K. Luneckas 9), Osage 43 (Brandau 12). Assists: West Branch 13 (Koenig 8), Osage 11 (Knudsen 4). Steals: West Branch 12 (Koenig, Druecker 3), Osage 7 (seven with 1). Turnovers: West Branch 8, Osage 17.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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